Microsoft Hires Ex-Wal-Mart Executive for New Retail Division
Microsoft Corp. says it has hired a former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executive to help the company open stores under the Microsoft name, a strategy shift that underscores rival Apple Inc.’s success in the retail business.
The Redmond, Wash., company said it hired David Porter, most recently the head of worldwide product distribution at DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., as corporate vice president of retail stores for Microsoft. In a statement, Microsoft said the first priority of Mr. Porter, who spent 25 years at Wal-Mart, will be to define where to locate the Microsoft stores and when to open them. A Microsoft spokesman said the company’s current plans are for a “small number” of stores.
“The purpose of opening these stores is to create deeper engagement with consumers and continue to learn firsthand about what they want and how they buy,” the company said.
The move borrows Apple’s playbook, which has boosted sales through a chain of more than 200 retail stores around the world that focus on Macs, iPhones and iPods. Analysts believe the stores, which usually have eye-catching designs and highly-trained personnel, have been instrumental in helping Apple to gain share in its various product categories.